Numbers look good if supply-side constraints like bilaterals, infra can be addressed: Kapil Kaul

On the forecast of the travel and tourism sector decreasing the disparity between inbound and outbound.

Foreign nationals coming in to India in 2006 were 4.4 million and the outbound was 8.4 million. These numbers went up to 6.3 million and 13.99 million, respectively, in 2011.


In 2016, there were 8.89 million inbound tourists and about 20 million outbound ones. The forecast is 13.2 million inbound tourists and 33.2 million outbound tourists by 2021. The 10-year forecast, which is for 2026, is 17.3 million inbound and about 50.8 million outbound tourists. This is where the growth number are and these are extremely significant. There are supply side constraints so if we remove obstacles like bilaterals, infrastructure etc. These number look quite exciting. These are unconstrained forecasts so they assume only incremental liberalisation of bilaterals. Our thought is that bilaterals are not going to be expanded, as much as we would like so, that could create some impact on the growth numbers. Airlines will be better able to plan and deploy capacity and launch more convenient routes if the ministry of tourism can report statistics. 

It is a big issue, statistics by country of residence or nationality. If you look at the February 2017 numbers, we were doing a forecast for the next 5 years, re-looking at these numbers, the growth numbers from tourism is about 13.7%, but when you build around and take Bangladesh and Pakistan out, the number is 6-7%. So, if you take a 13% forecast and one point five or two multiples, you get high twenties. But the number would be different if you do 6-7%. So, that is the importance of data and if you have to get reliable forecasting done, we have requested the ministry to ensure that the statistics can be reported by country of residence as well as nationality. Planning will also be assisted by monthly foreign visitor arrival data which can be split in to air and non-air so that it becomes extremely focussed in terms of understanding how traffic flows are coming. This is primarily the selected trends for outbound markets in India, South-East Asia and the UAE. South-East Asia and the UAE are the two most popular outbound destinations. 

The USA is the leading long-haul destination. Let us look at what is the growth curve for the outbound markets from India on selected markets in 2016. Some of the markets like Australia, Eastern Europe are the fastest growing markets. Obviously, the base is smaller so their growth effect is larger. These two are followed by Africa, Canada and Western Europe and when we talk about Western Europe, it excludes UK.

These numbers will be different from some of the tourism arrivals in these countries because there is traffic which goes by land and that is something that could be factored in but these are the outbound numbers from India. I would like to quickly share the inbound numbers. We could not qualify the 2016 numbers so here are some of the 2015 numbers. The US, UK and Western Europe are the key contributors to foreign investors and together account for 40% of visitations or visitor arrivals. West Asia is the fastest growing in-bound region but the emerging action is in the East. I would like to emphasise this and we are doing some research and understanding the visitations that come in from China and Australia. These are two big markets where in the next 5-7 years we will see a significant growth but obviously, India receives very less Chinese travellers largely because of strategic visa and other issues but that is going to change. Chinese visitors that go to Sri Lanka and Maldives are in much higher number. So, if you have to look at the inbound paradigm, the look east strategy, making visas affordable and getting wealthy Chinese to come to India would be interesting. 

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